Saturday, January 17, 2009

Devils Continue Road Trip On Island After Win Over Blue Jackets

After grinding out a 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets and star rookie goalie Steve Mason on Friday night, the Devils flew right to Long Island for tonight's game against the Islanders. The Devils will play their fifth game on a current six game road trip tonight before they head to Nashville to complete the road trip on Monday.

The Islanders come into tonight's game injury plagued at the goalie position. Already with DiPietro out after having a second knee surgery, the Islanders lost back-up goalie Joey MacDondald with a strained groin on Tuesday. Yann Danis has taken over the goaltending duties for the time being and should start tonight against the Devils. In 5 games this season Danis is 0-4-0 with a 3.99 GAA and a .860 save-percentage.

The Islanders sit at 12-28-4 and in last place in the Eastern Conference. The Islanders are a team who have lost six straight and are looking to sell off many of their veterans like Doug Weight, Bill Guerin, Mike Comrie and Andy Sutton by the trading deadline. The Devils always seem to have trouble with the Islanders, no matter who is in goal or what their record is and should be very cautious of a let down.

Currently the Devils are 3-1-0 on this road trip after a grinding 2-1 victory in Columbus last night.

The Blue Jackets defense was baffling for the Devils, and maybe the best I had seen all year. Struggling to break through, the Devils could not even muster a shot within 20 feet of rookie goalie Steve Mason. Mason came into last nights game with a 1.80 GAA and a league high 6 shutouts.

Exactly half way through the 3rd period, the Devils final got a break as Dorsett took a penalty giving the Devils their one and only power-play of the night. It took only six seconds for Travis Zajac to score his 13th goal of the year off a turnover by R.J. Umberger.

The Devils seemed to pick up their play from that moment on, backing the Jackets down in their own end. Then just 1:13 after Zajac's goal, David Clarkson came around for a wrap around and then jabbed the puck out from underneath Steve Mason's pads across the crease to John Madden who tapped it in the open net.

The goal went to review as the net had come off it's moorings just as the goal was being scored. The goal was upheld under review by of all refs, doughnut eating Don Koharski. Koharski had to work most of the game alone as the other ref had gone down with an injury early in the first period.

Kevin Weekes continued his strong play as he earned his 2nd win on this road trip. He stopped 26 of 27 shots and has given up 2 goals in his past two starts. The veteran goalie will most likely not be playing tonight on Long Island but could get the start Monday in Nashville, depending on how Scott Clemmensen plays tonight.

One Devils who may be in the line-up tonight is Brendan Shanahan. Shanahan, who will wear number 18, has been practicing and traveling with the Devils the past few days and the coaching staff has left it up to Shanahan to tell them when he feels he is ready to go.

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